Here's an on-the-road Nazar
Bonjuk (nah-ZAHR bohn-jook) story
from TTP user and intrepid traveler Brian
"In December 2001, I was going
from Delhi to Pakistan
across the land border at Wagah. My backpack was
carrying only 2 souvenir/insignias: a Nazar
a tiny, half inch, Nepalese flag pin.
couple joined me on the way: a man who pointed to
evil eye and said, 'Nazar
"He was Turkish,
a medical doctor, and his companion
also pointed to my backpack and said
in Chinese, 'Nepalese flag!' She
was Chinese, from Sichuan
and living in Nepal.
"I can speak basic Mandarin and
we chatted in Chinese about this and
that and from the man's total lack
comprehension I guessed that either they weren't
together or had just met.
"I thought it was rather
odd that they should be
from the two countries that I carried souvenirs from
but how many people would know nazar bonjuk in
Turkish and be able to recognise the Nepalese flag,
even though it is a distinctive flag?
"It was also odd to meet a doctor
and a well dressed woman travelling
the backpacker way I do. People like
normally take a plane or coach.
"Anyway, after chatting on the
way to the border, I
felt that even if they weren't exactly what they
seemed, they were a nice couple and the rest wasn't
"At the border, the officials
requested the man to step
into a room as his passport was reported stolen two
weeks earlier. He insisted that there was some mix-up
and I was ushered through Customs and Immigration
because they told me that I was not allowed to wait.
"At the actual border gate, I
was photographed by the
Indian Immigration, ostensibly as a tourist for their
magazine. I waited two hours on the Pakistani side
the Turk and Chinese couple but they didn't appear.
"Two weeks later I
passed through the border back into
India and enquired about them from the Indian border
guards and was told that the man was delayed for
night but the matter was cleared up and they were
allowed to pass the following day.
"I hadn't exchanged email addies
or contact information with them and
have no way of finding out if they're
okay. But what do you make
of my curious little story? Do
you think the Turk was what he appeared
güle. Go smiling. Good journey!"
Either there was a passport mix-up,
or perhaps it was a shake-down: "We
can clear up this little misunderstanding
about your papers upon payment of $100." That
sort of thing. I's happened to me numerous
times in Latin America.